Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 6 🎅

For today’s selections I thought I’d do something a little different. I’m giving you the same song in both, though the treatments are a little different. The song is one which, although its lyrics don’t refer specifically to Christmas, is very much a part of the season. I had always thought this to be an English song, but that just goes to prove how little I know. I’ll let Wikipedia tell you its story:

Jingle Bells is one of the best-known and commonly sung American songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title The One Horse Open Sleigh in the autumn of 1857. It has been claimed that it was originally written to be sung by a Sunday school choir, or as a drinking song. Although it has no original connection to Christmas, it became associated with Christmas music in the 1860s and 1870s, and it was featured in a variety of parlour song and college anthologies in the 1880s. It was first recorded in 1889 on an Edison cylinder; this recording, believed to be the first Christmas record, is lost, but an 1898 recording also from Edison Records survives.”

I usually take out Wikipedia’s links but I’ve kept one of them in this time, in case you want to find out who James Lord Pierpont was. The song is one of the most recorded of all time – Wikipedia lists more than 280 versions – and has the distinction of being the first song to be broadcast from outer space, when a harmonica and bells version was played by the Gemini 6 astronauts in 1965. It is also one of the most parodied songs ever, although I’m pretty sure that there is no truth to its allegation that Batman smells.

The first version I’m sharing today comes from a BBC4 music special first broadcast in 2011. The show was led by one of my favourite bands – Bellowhead – and this is the version they played, with the whole cast joining in:

Raucous, rowdy, and a heck of a lot of fun. As you may have spotted, the show was themed along the lines of a Victorian English music hall, and was a wonderful hour of music and jollity. If you want to see the whole thing, you can find it here. Highly recommended if this one was to your taste.

Today’s second offering is from a couple of years prior to that, and is by an unlikely pairing of acts:

Cleaner in its treatment, perhaps, but they still get lots of fun out of their interplay with it, and Andrea Bocelli’s voice is wonderful. It’s still the same song, played for laughs, but it feels so different. I love both versions!

Did I say two versions? Oh, go on then, have a third one. While I was scrolling through trying to find the Andrea Bocelli video, I came across a weird range of treatments of the song. Quite a lot were dance schools using it as their tune, and there were also loads of styles there too, both amateur and professional: hip hop, bellydancing, Indian classical dance, anyone? But I also found this. I don’t often share instrumentals, but this is a bit special – Olivier, who is playing this, was nine years old at the time!

And Brendan Kavanagh, the professional player whose video this is, isn’t bad either! In case you were wondering, pianos have been provided at several London railway stations (and elsewhere too, I believe) for the entertainment of passengers. It gives them something to do during delays. Kavanagh, who goes by the name of Dr.K, has put these to very good use as you can see here, and has amassed a following of more than 1m on YouTube. He is also an online music teacher – seems like he’s doing alright for himself. Olivier has become a viral star in his own right, and has a YouTube channel of his own, with over 30k subscribers. This recent article tells you more.

That’s it for today. Time for a ‘toon, I think:

See you again tomorrow ☃️

25 thoughts on “Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 6 🎅

  1. Pingback: Advent Calendar 2021 – Christmas Day 🎅👼 | Take It Easy

  2. Pingback: Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 17 🎄 | Take It Easy

  3. I’ve seen a couple of Kavanagh’s other videos before, so I knew about his talent. I can see why Olivier has amassed such a following. He’s quite talented. Bocelli and the Muppets were brilliant. I enjoyed that a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this is a special song for me as we actually did get rides in a one-horse open sleigh. Often on the Canadian prairies, the snow would be so high we could not get out in a vehicle. it was so exciting for us kids when we had to take the horse-drawn sleigh instead. We would always sing jingle bells. Dad did have bells on the horse. I love Andrea Bocelli and the Muppets. The young boy on the piano was amazing. Loved his mittens hanging from strings. A feel-good post for me. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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